Abstract

In standard frequency-discrimination experiments either the retinal spatial frequencies (cycles per degree) or the object spatial frequencies (real world) could be compared, because the retinal and object frequency differences are the same. Current models of spatial-frequency discrimination assume that observers compare the retinal frequencies. I test this assumption by presenting gratings at different viewing distances (with strong depth cues). The object frequencies of the gratings bear the same relationship that they do in a standard frequency-discrimination experiment, but the retinal frequency of the more distant grating is always markedly higher than that of the near grating. The observer’s task is to compare the object spatial frequencies. This change from one depth to two (with no change in the stimulus object) has a negligible effect on the observer’s performance, suggesting that observers compare object frequencies even in standard spatial-frequency-discrimination experiments. This conclusion is supported by the findings that (1) observers appear unable to learn to compare retinal frequencies and (2) the interstimulus interval has no effect (over the range 0–1020 msec), implying long-term storage of the visual information. Suggestions are made about why these results are consistent with good system design.

© 1987 Optical Society of America

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References

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    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
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    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
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    [PubMed]
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    [PubMed]
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    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
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    [CrossRef]
  13. C. Blakemore, E. T. Garner, J. A. Sweet, “The site of size constancy,” Perception 1, 111–119 (1972).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
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    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
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    [CrossRef]
  18. S. Klein, C. F. Stromeyer, L. Ganz, “The simultaneous spatial frequency shift: a dissociation between the detection and perception of gratings,” Vision Res. 14, 1421–1432 (1974).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  19. N. Graham, “Detection and identification of near-threshold visual patterns,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 2, 1468–1482 (1985).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  20. J. P. Thomas, “Underlying psychometric function for detecting gratings and identifying spatial frequency,”J. Opt. Soc. Am. 73, 751–758 (1983).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  21. J. Hirsch, R. Hylton, “Limits of spatial-frequency discrimination as evidence of neural interpolation,”J. Opt. Soc. Am. 72, 1367–1374 (1982).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  22. F. W. Campbell, J. Nachmias, J. Jukes, “Spatial-frequency discrimination in human vision,”J. Opt. Soc. Am. 60, 555–559 (1970).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]

1985

1984

1983

1982

1981

A. B. Watson, J. G. Robson, “Discrimination at threshold: labelled detectors in human vision,” Vision Res. 21, 1115–1122 (1981).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1974

S. Klein, C. F. Stromeyer, L. Ganz, “The simultaneous spatial frequency shift: a dissociation between the detection and perception of gratings,” Vision Res. 14, 1421–1432 (1974).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1972

C. Blakemore, E. T. Garner, J. A. Sweet, “The site of size constancy,” Perception 1, 111–119 (1972).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1971

1970

1969

C. Blakemore, F. W. Campbell, “On the existence of neurones in the human visual system selectively sensitive to the orientation and size of retinal images,”J. Physiol. 203, 237–260 (1969).
[PubMed]

1968

F. W. Campbell, J. G. Robson, “Application of Fourier analysis to the visibility of gratings,”J. Physiol. 197, 551–566 (1968).
[PubMed]

1941

A. H. Holway, E. G. Boring, “Determinants of apparent visual size with distance variant,” Am. J. Psychol. 54, 21–37 (1941).
[CrossRef]

Beverley, K. I.

Blakemore, C.

C. Blakemore, E. T. Garner, J. A. Sweet, “The site of size constancy,” Perception 1, 111–119 (1972).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

C. Blakemore, F. W. Campbell, “On the existence of neurones in the human visual system selectively sensitive to the orientation and size of retinal images,”J. Physiol. 203, 237–260 (1969).
[PubMed]

Boring, E. G.

A. H. Holway, E. G. Boring, “Determinants of apparent visual size with distance variant,” Am. J. Psychol. 54, 21–37 (1941).
[CrossRef]

Burbeck, C. A.

Campbell, F. W.

F. W. Campbell, J. Nachmias, J. Jukes, “Spatial-frequency discrimination in human vision,”J. Opt. Soc. Am. 60, 555–559 (1970).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

C. Blakemore, F. W. Campbell, “On the existence of neurones in the human visual system selectively sensitive to the orientation and size of retinal images,”J. Physiol. 203, 237–260 (1969).
[PubMed]

F. W. Campbell, J. G. Robson, “Application of Fourier analysis to the visibility of gratings,”J. Physiol. 197, 551–566 (1968).
[PubMed]

Finney, D. J.

D. J. Finney, Probit Analysis (Cambridge U. Press, Cambridge, Mass.1971).

Ganz, L.

S. Klein, C. F. Stromeyer, L. Ganz, “The simultaneous spatial frequency shift: a dissociation between the detection and perception of gratings,” Vision Res. 14, 1421–1432 (1974).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Garner, E. T.

C. Blakemore, E. T. Garner, J. A. Sweet, “The site of size constancy,” Perception 1, 111–119 (1972).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Gelb, D. J.

Graham, N.

Hirsch, J.

Holway, A. H.

A. H. Holway, E. G. Boring, “Determinants of apparent visual size with distance variant,” Am. J. Psychol. 54, 21–37 (1941).
[CrossRef]

Hylton, R.

Jukes, J.

Klein, S.

S. Klein, C. F. Stromeyer, L. Ganz, “The simultaneous spatial frequency shift: a dissociation between the detection and perception of gratings,” Vision Res. 14, 1421–1432 (1974).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

McKee, S. P.

S. P. McKee, “The spatial requirements for fine stereoacuity,” Vision Res. 23, 191–198 (1983).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Nachmias, J.

Regan, D.

Robson, J. G.

A. B. Watson, J. G. Robson, “Discrimination at threshold: labelled detectors in human vision,” Vision Res. 21, 1115–1122 (1981).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

M. B. Sachs, J. Nachmias, J. G. Robson, “Spatial-frequency channels in human vision,”J. Opt. Soc. Am. 61, 1176–1186 (1971).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

F. W. Campbell, J. G. Robson, “Application of Fourier analysis to the visibility of gratings,”J. Physiol. 197, 551–566 (1968).
[PubMed]

Sachs, M. B.

Stromeyer, C. F.

S. Klein, C. F. Stromeyer, L. Ganz, “The simultaneous spatial frequency shift: a dissociation between the detection and perception of gratings,” Vision Res. 14, 1421–1432 (1974).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Sweet, J. A.

C. Blakemore, E. T. Garner, J. A. Sweet, “The site of size constancy,” Perception 1, 111–119 (1972).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Thomas, J. P.

Watson, A. B.

A. B. Watson, J. G. Robson, “Discrimination at threshold: labelled detectors in human vision,” Vision Res. 21, 1115–1122 (1981).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

A. B. Watson, “Detection and recognition of simple spatial terms,” NASA Tech. Memo. 84353 (Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., 1983).

Wilson, H. R.

Am. J. Psychol.

A. H. Holway, E. G. Boring, “Determinants of apparent visual size with distance variant,” Am. J. Psychol. 54, 21–37 (1941).
[CrossRef]

J. Opt. Soc. Am.

J. Opt. Soc. Am. A

J. Physiol.

F. W. Campbell, J. G. Robson, “Application of Fourier analysis to the visibility of gratings,”J. Physiol. 197, 551–566 (1968).
[PubMed]

C. Blakemore, F. W. Campbell, “On the existence of neurones in the human visual system selectively sensitive to the orientation and size of retinal images,”J. Physiol. 203, 237–260 (1969).
[PubMed]

Perception

C. Blakemore, E. T. Garner, J. A. Sweet, “The site of size constancy,” Perception 1, 111–119 (1972).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Vision Res.

S. P. McKee, “The spatial requirements for fine stereoacuity,” Vision Res. 23, 191–198 (1983).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

S. Klein, C. F. Stromeyer, L. Ganz, “The simultaneous spatial frequency shift: a dissociation between the detection and perception of gratings,” Vision Res. 14, 1421–1432 (1974).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

A. B. Watson, J. G. Robson, “Discrimination at threshold: labelled detectors in human vision,” Vision Res. 21, 1115–1122 (1981).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Other

A. B. Watson, “Detection and recognition of simple spatial terms,” NASA Tech. Memo. 84353 (Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., 1983).

J. P. C. Southall, ed., Helmholtz’s Treatise on Physiological Optics, 1910 (Dover, New York, 1962), Vol. III.

D. J. Finney, Probit Analysis (Cambridge U. Press, Cambridge, Mass.1971).

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Figures (9)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Photograph of laboratory, showing arrangement of displays and surrounding depth information. The room illumination shown is considerably higher than that used in the object-frequency-discrimination experiments (see the text), but the photograph accurately represents the visual information available to the observer. For the observer, there was no lateral gap visible between the two displays.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Psychometric functions for frequency discrimination. The two gratings that constituted a trial were presented sequentially either on one screen located at 2 m (filled circles) or on different screens located at 1 and 2 m from the observer (open circles). The object stimuli were identical in the two experiments; the distances to the screens and the retinal frequencies differed. Observers were JDC (A) and CAB (B).

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Best-fitting lines to the linearized psychometric functions for standard frequency discrimination (solid lines) and for object-spatial-frequency discrimination (dotted lines). Observers were JDC (A) and CAB (B).

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Effect of adding error from a depth estimate to the psycho-metric function obtained in the standard frequency-discrimination experiments. An estimate of the psychometric function resulting from adding a depth judgment to the spatial-frequency-discrimination process is shown (bold lines). The probability-density function of depth error is Gaussian with σ = 3% (see the text). Results of standard frequency-discrimination experiments (filled symbols) and object-frequency discrimination experiments (open symbols) are also shown. Observers were JDC (A) and CAB (B).

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Same as Fig. 4 except that σ for the depth error is 1%.

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

Frequency-discrimination thresholds as a function of time between presentations of the gratings being compared (ISI). Observers were MBO (filled circles) and EBF (open circles).

Fig. 7
Fig. 7

Psychometric functions for frequency discrimination underlying the thresholds shown in Fig. 6, for observers MBO (A) and EBF (B). The two extreme ISI’s are shown on the right: 0 msec (open circles) and 1020 msec (filled circles). The three intermediate ISI’s are shown on the left: 510 msec (open circles), 255 msec (filled circles), and 85 msec (filled squares).

Fig. 8
Fig. 8

Effects of learning on frequency discrimination with viewing distances of 1 and 3 m for observer VP. Results for retinal-frequency discrimination (filled circles) and object-frequency discrimination (open circles) are shown. Each datum represents the result of one session of 80 trials. In these experiments, Δf/f was fixed at 10%, and the center frequency f was varied. This paradigm yields higher overall thresholds but ensures that the observer does not make same-screen comparisons.

Fig. 9
Fig. 9

Psychometric functions for frequency-ratio discrimination (filled circles) and retinal-frequency discrimination (open circles) for observer JDC.

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